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Iran Press TV

Iraqi forces retake control of Sulaiman Bek

Iran Press TV

Fri Feb 14, 2014 2:2PM GMT

Iraqi security officials say the army has regained control of the town of Sulaiman Bek in Salahuddin Province after overnight clashes with al-Qaeda-linked militants stationed in the town.

The Iraqi troops retook the northern town on Friday and launched door-to-door search to determine the militant hideouts there.

On Thursday night, militants from the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) seized western parts of Sulaiman Bek and three nearby villages.

Following the incident, the Iraqi army backed by helicopters, tanks and armored vehicles began an operation to take back the militant-held areas.

Reports say nearly a dozen militants have been killed so far.

In July 2013, militants attacked Sulaiman Bek and executed 14 Shia Muslim truck drivers on a nearby highway. The town was also briefly seized by militants last April.

The latest developments in the northern town come at the time when Iraqi troops, backed by local Sunni tribesmen, are currently fighting al-Qaeda-affiliated militants in the country's western regions, including Anbar Province.

Violence erupted in Anbar late December when security forces cleared a protest camp which the government said was used by militants for launching terrorist attacks.

The removal of the camp sparked protests from Iraqi lawmakers who urged the army to leave the city.

But the withdrawal of government forces from the city paved the way for ISIL militants to move in and seize the provincial capital, Ramadi, and the neighboring city of Fallujah.

Official figures say some 1,013 people were killed in January alone, making it the deadliest month since April 2008.

MRS/AB/SS



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